Ombre Photo Mat

Frame a favorite photo with a brilliant array of colors using this easy paper-trimming technique.

Ombre Photo Mat

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, October 2011






  • 8-by-10-inch frame

  • Lightweight card stock

  • Paper trimmer

  • 5-by-7-inch photo


  1. Choose six pieces of card stock in a color gradient and trim each to 8 by 10 inches.

  2. Arrange the card stock in the order you would like the colors to appear. Begin with the color chosen for the widest mat (the innermost mat, closest to the photo). Using the paper trimmer, measure and cut lines 1 3/4 inches in from each edge, creating a rectangular window in the center of the card stock.

  3. Measure and cut the rest of the mats, decreasing the distance from the edge by 1/4 inch as you work your way to the outermost mat. The outermost mat will be 1/2 inch wide. Tip: When cutting the first line of a 1 3/4-inch mat, start the cutter exactly at the 1 3/4 mark on the ruler of the paper trimmer, and stop 1 3/4 inches before the other edge of the card stock. (The magnifier on the blade shuttle is useful for this.) Turn the paper 90 degrees to make each adjacent cut, stopping 1 3/4 inches before each edge. As you progress, adjust where you start and stop based on the width of the mat you are cutting.

  4. Once all the mats are cut, stack them in order and insert into the frame. Center and secure photo behind mats; secure back of frame in place.


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